Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Monday | July 21, 2003

The pendulum has reached its apex

9-11 was the catalyst. Seizing on the hysteria of the moment, the Bush administration took the opportunity to erode pesky civil liberties, muzzle the press, and start the war of its dreams (after brushing aside the appetizer in Afghanistan).

In the best laid plans of PNAC and the rest of the chickenhawk warmongering cabal, we still had wars in Syria and Iran with which to contend. But alas, the momentum was lost. And in fact, the pendulum has started swining the other way.

First to falter was the administration's perpetual march to war. Then the press tore off its muzzle and rediscovered its voice. Now, the Patriot Act is under serious assault.

Alaska, Hawaii and Vermont have passed anti-Patriot Act resolutions (AK particularly interesting, as it is solidly GOP, though of the libertarian persuassion). 165 other communities have followed suit.

Now, an internal Justice investigation will further fuel calls to roll back or revoke the act.

A report by internal investigators at the Justice Department has identified dozens of recent cases in which department employees have been accused of serious civil rights and civil liberties violations involving enforcement of the sweeping federal antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act.

The inspector general's report, which was presented to Congress last week and is awaiting public release, is likely to raise new concern among lawmakers about whether the Justice Department can police itself when its employees are accused of violating the rights of Muslim and Arab immigrants and others swept up in terrorism investigations under the 2001 law.

The report said that in the six-month period that ended on June 15, the inspector general's office had received 34 complaints of civil rights and civil liberties violations by department employees that it considered credible, including accusations that Muslim and Arab immigrants in federal detention centers had been beaten.

Traditional civil liberties groups have teamed up with others like the NRA to overturn the Patriot Act, leaving it exposed and vulnerable.

Soon, the only thing left to roll back will be the Bush Administration itself.

Posted July 21, 2003 09:44 AM


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